Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Hey Arnold The Jungle Movie - Title Card
82.7% (4)

Hey Arnold The Jungle Movie - Title Card

Who said you need fancy animation and an Oscar bait kind of story to make something as tear-inducing as Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie?

Director(s) Stu Livingston and Raymie Muzquiz
Writer(s) Craig Bartlett, Joe Purdy, Laura Sreebny, and Justin Charlebois


It has been almost 10 years since Arnold has seen his parents and the longing for them is beginning to haunt his dreams. Making Mr. Simmons bringing up a possible class trip to the place they disappeared, San Lorenzo, almost like a sign from God. However, there ends up nothing being holy about the contest they had to win to get there. If only because it was orchestrated by Lasombra, a local thief of ancient treasures who vies for the Corazyn [Spelling is based off subtitles] – the treasure of the green-eyed people.

But, in order to get this treasure Arnold’s parents, Stella and Miles, have kept out of his hands, he must use Arnold to get what he wants. Which, between keeping his friends as prisoners and tricking Arnold repeatedly, it seems he’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. For the Corazyn is his white whale.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Arnold was in 5th grade and is in 6th grade at the end of the movie.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So what causes the sleeping curse?
  2. What caused Mr. Simmons to go nuts and then return to normal? Also, is he gay or just has a male roommate? Could it maybe be that his brother was the one who dropped him off at the airport?
  3. Are we really supposed to believe Abner, in less than 48 hours, was able to hitchhike all the way home to convey to grandma and grandpa Arnold was in trouble? I get this is a cartoon so you have to forget about realism but it still called for a raised eyebrow. Much less TSA not picking up a pig on an airplane.
  4. What exactly caused the explosion in Lasombra’s prison camp?
  5. How were the green-eyed children keeping themselves, and everyone else, alive?


Roll Call

Going by Wikipedia, it has been 13 years since new episodes of Hey Arnold! have been produced. With that in mind, it isn’t hard to believe a lot of old fans may not remember who is who. Thankfully though, nearly everyone’s name was said repeatedly and we got enough reminders of the person’s unique characteristics to flare up old memories. Especially with the video package Helga, Gerald, and Phoebe made so the class could go to San Lorenzo. It made returning to these characters after 13 years much easier.

It Becomes a Very Emotional Story

Hey Arnold The Jungle Movie - Stella, Arnold, and Miles

Despite the aforementioned gap some of us may have between watching the show and viewing the movie, you pick up on the relationships, problematic or loving, quickly. Whether it is the relationships Arnold has with his grandparents or Gerald; Helga’s with her parents or sister, alongside Phoebe; and of course there are the romantic ones like Phoebe and Gerald and also Helga with Arnold. But where the emotional bits of the story come from has nothing really to deal with established characters. It is Arnold’s search for Stella and Miles.

Something he has been dreaming about and it seems as Arnold is approaching his teen years, it has left him with this huge gap in his chest. Making the moment when he finds his parents tear-inducing and especially when he finds a way to wake them up. I mean, call it corny, but their first words being “Hey Arnold” turned the waterworks on for me. And then with it seeming like that was a dream?! And when he saw them he touched them to see if they weren’t there like in the dream he had in the beginning of the movie? Oh, those scenes messed with my heart in ways I don’t think were kind to viewers.

The Movie Pushes You To Want The Series To Be Revived, If But For A Season or at Least One More Movie

With so many shows from the 00s and 90s being revived, the idea of Hey Arnold! coming back from the dead doesn’t sound horrible. Especially with the characters now entering middle school and Arnold’s parents in his life. And, granted, this could just be the nostalgia talking. But I would like to see the two sides of Helga meld into someone who seems deserving of Arnold’s love. Also, I would absolutely love to see Phoebe and Gerald have a full fledged relationship. Much less, see Stella and Miles as a couple, them bond with gramps and grandma, be parents to Arnold, and maybe even extend that to Helga. Giving her the chance to know what it is like to have loving parents.

On The Fence

A Grand Gesture To Make Up For All The Malice & Lasombra

The problem of a lot of shows having sequels or reviving when you get older is now you have more skepticism and question things. Also, you expect more. So with us not learning why Lasombra wanted the Corazyn, past money, it kind of made him an eye roll inducing villain. For now, you want to hear about him being impoverished and him selling local artifacts he how he got out of poverty. Or else some superiority thing where he believed the works of the people should be in museums rather than with savages. Maybe even, because of how bad the economy is, making places like where the Green Eyed People live become a tourist attraction. All of which I won’t pretend sound a bit eye-roll worthy, but it is the lack of a good enough motivation that it would have you threaten multiple children’s lives which bugs me.

But the other issue is Helga follows the usual grand romantic gesture formula to make up for the jerk she has been. And while you gotta admit, her helping Arnold find his parents probably tops anything you ever saw before, live action or animated, it doesn’t necessarily erase years of cruelty and how low-key creepy Helga is. I mean, her having a shrine to Arnold already was side-eye worthy but years worth of tapes? At that point, it went beyond elementary crush you could understand, especially considering her home life, to something that made you want to scream to Arnold that he was in danger!

For yeah, she is happy now that they are together, but can you imagine how bad that relationship will become now that she has what she wants? Especially if Arnold decides to make excuses for her and stays with her for years? And I know, while Nick is a bit more PG-13 than other networks which cater to the 18 and below market, they may not address Helga being possessive and some form of abusive. However, there have been articles written in depth why Helga and Arnold would make a terrible couple for years. So while this may give her a happy ending, it seems like a means to balance out Arnold after getting his grandest wish to come true.

Phoebe and Gerald

Am I the only one who wanted more out of these two? Gerald has been Arnold’s ride or die for years and I just wanted to see him really have more than just a moment with Phoebe. Maybe it is because Gerald is one of the handful of classic Black animated characters, of which I loved growing up. But, either way, I kind of feel like him and Phoebe got the short end of the stick.

Overall: Positive (Watch This)

Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie fulfills your nostalgic desires by bringing nearly the whole gang back together and giving us a sense of closure. Yet, at the same time, it brings up so many new avenues for the show to go down that it makes you hope between another movie, a mini-series styled revival, or just an outright full season order, it would really come back. Which, if you go by this article in the Independent [External], from 2015, it could be possible. Till then, enjoy what Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie gives us and keep your fingers crossed for something new in the future.

Stream or Buy: Here [External]

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